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'Cirque Dreams Holidaze' a seasonal spectacular

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'Cirque Dreams Holidaze'

What: A holiday-themed theatrical production featuring 32 artists performing aerial and acrobatic acts in elaborate costumes, all set to seasonal music.
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Embassy Theatre, 121 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Cost: Tickets are $28 and up. Tickets are available at the Embassy Theatre box office, open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and by calling 1-800-745-3000.

The touring show will be presented Wednesday night at the Embassy Theatre.

Monday, December 3, 2012 - 12:01 am

There's so much going on in “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” it should hold even a preschooler's attention.

That's what the show's creator and director, Neil Goldberg, believes. Goldberg has created a dazzling theatrical production with acrobats, aerialists and elaborate costumes — a “landscape of holiday wonderment,” according to a news release. The show will be in town for one performance Wednesday at the Embassy Theatre.

Asked if the show was a Christmas show or a holiday show, Goldberg, speaking by phone from Florida, said it was both.

“This is a theatrical experience that celebrates Christmas and the winter season,” he said.

And that is kind of weird considering Goldberg was raised as an Orthodox Jew.

That didn't stop him from developing a fascination with Christmas ornaments as a kid. He started a collection at a young age while walking home from Hebrew day school. He would collect discarded ornaments and tinsel from Christmas trees that had been put out to the trash.

“My mother wasn't thrilled,” he said. She let him keep the ornaments while throwing out the tinsel.

That initial interest turned into his own personal collection of more than 10,000 ornaments.

“It was just a fascination with the art form, not a religious thing,” he said of his fondess for “colorful, sparkly” ornaments.

That fascination inspired his whole vision of “Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” he said. The 32 performers play the role of several different ornaments throughout the show.

When the curtain comes up, the performers are surrounding and suspended over a 30-foot tall steel tree in a landscape of gift boxes. “The 'oohs' and 'aahs' continue for the next two hours,” Goldberg said.

The show is a combination of acrobatics, live singing, choreographed dancing, contortionists and more.

“It really is the kind of show that, once it starts, it has audiences on the edge of their seats,” he said. He described it as “Radio City meets the circus on Broadway.”

The acts have enough risk and danger to provide thrills, yet “there is the added fun and festivity that is so relatable to this time of year,” he said.

But despite the astonishing feats and lively score, featuring songs such as “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree,” the show isn't all about the secular side of Christmas. The closing scene — a “beautiful, aerial ballet,” Goldberg says — is performed to “O Holy Night.”